When you need a quick and easy meal, I've got you covered! You're going to look at the ingredients and you're first instinct might be -- "I have to roast squash, make pesto AND herby bread crumbs?" -- and, yes, you do, BUT it ALL can be made in stages! Make the pesto in the morning. Make the bread crumbs in the afternoon, and roast the squash in the evening. No time to do that? Make it all over the weekend, double the recipes, and nosh on it all week!
I HIGHLY recommend making homemade ricotta for this recipe. It's REALLY easy, no fancy or hard to find ingredients and the flavor is BEYOND amazing! Click here for the recipe I use all the time!
Very gently adapted from Food52
- 3 cups Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs you can find in your local grocery store)
- 1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, de-stemmed and washed
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano
- 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
- 1 clove garlic
- Juice of one lemon
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 spaghetti squash
- Ricotta cheese (click the link in the description above to get the recipe)
To make the herby breadcrumbs:
In the bowl of food processor, add the Panko, parsley, and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Pulse until the parsley is blended in with the Panko. Transfer to a sealed container and set aside. These breadcrumbs can be made several days ahead of time and stored in a cool, dry place.
To make the kale pesto:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have a large mixing bowl ready filled with ice water. When the water comest to a boil, add the kale and blanch for 1 to 2 minutes, until it is wilted. Transfer the wilted kale to the ice water. When the kale is chilled (this only takes a couple of minutes) remove it from the ice water. As you remove the kale from the ice water, use your hands to squeeze out all excess water. Take an extra minute on this step and really do a good job of squeezing out all the excess water from the kale. This will improve the taste and texture of your pesto. Transfer the kale to a food processor. I make the pesto right after the breadcrumbs and just wiped out the food processor. Add the Parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Pulse in the food processor to incorporate all the ingredients, and it has the consistency of a pesto. I tend to like my pesto on the chunkier side, but if you like yours smoother keep blending, or add a tablespoon more of olive oil . Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, give it one more pulse and taste. Adjust as necessary with more salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice. Set the finished kale pesto aside. This pesto can be made a day or two ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. I found that kale doesn't brown like basil, so I definitely recommend making this ahead of time.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. With a VERY sharp knife, cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds. I like to scoop out the seeds with an ice cream scoop -- easier than using a spoon. Drizzle olive oil over the flesh of the squash so that it is barely coated with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place the squash flesh-side down on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 30-45 minutes, until the flesh feels tender when pierced with a fork. My oven runs hot, so it usually takes about 35 minutes to roast the squash. When the outer skin starts getting a bit charred, and the flesh starts getting golden is when I know it's done. Getting that gorgeous caramel color means fabulous flavor! Remove the squash from the oven, and when it is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the flesh of the squash. This is the magic (and where it gets it's name) because when you scrape it with a fork, it will resemble spaghetti. Discard the skin.
Divide the squash evenly among 4 bowls.
Top with a generous spoonful of kale pesto, a sprinkling of the breadcrumbs and a couple of dollops of ricotta. I like to drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with flaked sea salt before serving.
I highly recommend using homemade ricotta for this recipe! It's SO easy to make and the flavor is infinitely better than ANY store bought ricotta.